Monday, 18 June 2018

foxy fox on the run

Perhaps to deflect attention from domestic crises which has thousands confined to concentration camps along the southern US border as a deterrent to dissuade others from trying for a better life, Trump lied about the role that liberal immigration policy has had in Germany in terms of crime (statistics are lowest since 1992, no matter how it’s framed) and was openly critical of leadership of the Chancellor—sort of like blaming members of the opposition party for separating migrant families. He’s used this script before.
Knowing the heartless, idiot narcissist thrives on any attention, I am ever more loath to acknowledge his pratfalls and pandering but there’s a lot at stake all around—especially considering the timing, which amplifies the notion that Germany is facing a constitutional crisis over irreconcilable differences between Merkel and Bavarian factions of her party. Governance in Germany is not a cult-of-personality despite how hegemonic perspectives might portray foreign politics, and Merkel managed to buy time in a game of brinksmanship with the country’s interior minister over curbing immigration—one point in a proposal of sixty-three that Merkel determined to be in violation of European Union law, suggesting that Germany could rebuff refugees that had entered the EU at other points—who subsequently acquiesced that the matter should be tabled until a broader, supra-national discussion can take place. Moreover, the malleable Manchurian Candidate’s pronouncement comes after a non-sequitur weekend chat with long-term Hungarian prime-minister over the importance of strong borders, Orbán Viktor being a strong opponent of Merkel’s proposal for a EU-wide distributed quota-system for hosting migrants.


tune in, turn on, slack-off: employees cultivating mindfulness are less productive, having realised the futility of their jobs

football pitch: Alan Taylor considers some of the more creative placements of soccer fields around the world, via Kottke’s Quick Links

stolen flame: short documentary about about an indigenous racing team at the 1967 Pan-American Games who were not allowed to carry the torch into the stadium

artificial scarcity: an exclusive website with a waiting room, via Weird Universe

hildegard von bingen: an appreciation of the repertoire and canon (previously) of the West’s first named composer  


Though understandably a bit cagey on the details for fear that their ideas might be stolen, as Quartz reports, a Silicon Valley start-up has secured the backing of some well-established industry patrons to build a catapult or trebuchet to launch payloads into space, forgoing the expense and inefficiency of rocketry.
Aircraft catapults are already employed as a form of assisted take-offs on some aircraft carriers but the idea to propel objects to orbit is pretty unconventional. What do you think?  Space elevators are still my favourite alternative and do hope that this isn’t some hoax.  Traditional rockets typically only can accommodate a cargo of five percent or less of their total mass with the remainder consisting of fuel and the rocket’s shell.

1812 overture

On this day, two hundred and six years ago, James Madison—at the urging of Andrew Jackson—declared war on British Empire and her allies over a variety of reasons including the policy of impressment of American citizens to fight Napoleon’s armies, British respect for Native American sovereignty, honour, and the desire to expand north into the British territory that would become Canada.
The three year conflict, considered by most to be a minor theatre of the larger Napoleonic wars, ended in stalemate for the chief belligerents with enslaved people and the Native Americans, having lost an ally and advocate in Europe though not necessarily their sympathies, being the losers. The big take away lesson that the best way to maintain peace with the United States for Britain was appeasement and indulge the way it was presented as a victorious “second war of independence” in the popular imagination.